>half 43? mine has the early style headlights, and all other early things on it
That's a fine, intelligent question, Gery. Another good question that owners should ask is "What is original to my HT?"
>it should have ben rebuilt to an m2a1!
OK, so we know that was a later addition. Do you see any evidence that yours ever had the pedestal headlamps? If not, it raises the kind of wonky questions I like, such as "When did Autocar transition from the fender mounted headlamps (FMH) to the peds? Could the FMH have been reintroduced into production due to supply shortage? Anybody else have any ideas??
Does yours have a skate rail? Are the sides of the step in the rear open? Olivier posted some pix of his French rebuilt M2-7958, & it too has fender mounted headlamps (FMH). Can't tell about the skate rail. As mentioned previously, my research on this particular Autocar Production Order is mostly theoretical at present. That is one of the reasons why it is helpful when a Museum or owner can find both the Serial Number & USA Number on a unit, along with anything else that might establish dates & places. Period photos with known good Serial or USA numbers can be helpful to the research. For instance, there are a few Summer 1945 snapshots of M2 USA 4020534 of the 89th CRSM / 9th AD. It carries the name "Dooth." It can be seen to have FMH, skate rail & what I call the "open step." If my theory is correct, that would have been made a few months before yours, & would have had M2-7603 stamped on the frame.
I take all the exclamations points in your posts to signify great enthusiasm. Hope you will keep us updated if you discover anything of interest on your track. If I come across any info that would lead me to backdate your M2's original acceptance ( July / August, 1943, for now ), will certainly let you know.